Pinning a window to the foreground is a handy feature that is especially useful if you keep switching windows to look at another window. You can also use it to watch videos at the same time you are doing other tasks.
While Mac and Linux provide an easy way to pin a window on top, Windows OS does not natively support this feature. However, some specific applications do have this function built into them.
Nevertheless, if you would like to get this feature on all applications, you mostly have to use third-party applications. Let’s see some ways how you can access this feature on Windows.
How to Keep a Window Always on Top?
There are several ways and several applications that integrate this feature into Windows. However, we will show you different methods like AutoHotkey scripting, using the GUI, and keyboard shortcuts to access this feature.
While it may sound difficult, all the methods on this list are very easy to perform.
Using Microsoft PowerToys
Using Microsoft PowerToys to keep a window pinned to the foreground is the closest you can get this feature natively supported on Windows. It is a Windows customization utility provided and updated by Microsoft.
Nevertheless, you must manually install this application from the Microsoft store and set it up.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Install and launch Microsoft PowerToys.
- Tap on Always On Top tab.
- Make sure Enable Always On Top is toggled on.
The default activation key for this feature in PowerToys is
Windows + Ctrl + T. However, you can change this shortcut in the activation setting below Enable Always On Top.
Furthermore, the window has a gray border around it when this feature is active. You can also change the border’s color or disable it in the same settings under Appearance & behavior.
While AutoHotkey isn’t specifically made for accessing the always-on-top feature, you can add this feature yourself using this application. It is an open-source application to custom script shortcut keys and other automatic tasks.
You need no prior knowledge of any programming language or even about AutoHotkey to use this method.
It is very simple, and here’s how to do it.
- Install AutoHotkey on your computer.
- Right-click the empty space in any folder and click on New.
- Press AutoHotkey Script from the options.
- Name the AutoHotkey Script file whatever you like, press Enter, and right-click it.
- Tap on Edit Script.
- Below the default texts, type in
^SPACE:: Winset, AlwaysOnTop, , A
- The ^ denotes Ctrl and SPACE is the Spacebar. You can change it to change the shortcut for accessing this feature.
- Press Ctrl + S to save it.
- Exit and double-click the AutoHotkey file.
Your custom script should now be working, and pressing
Ctrl + Spacebar should pin a window to the top. However, this AutoHotkey script doesn’t run automatically after a startup, as you must manually run the file.
To make the AutoHotkey script start on its own after a startup, follow the steps below.
- Press Ctrl + X to cut your AutoHotkey script. (You can right-click it and choose cut from the options also.)
- Navigate to
C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup(The USERNAME in the directory is for your actual PC username directory.)
- Press Ctrl + V to paste your AutoHotkey script here.
The Startup folder in your PC automatically runs any programs inside it after your computer logs on.
Lastly, there is one downside to this method. You can not identify which windows are pinned. If you pin only a few windows, it wouldn’t matter. However, if large numbers of windows are pinned, your normal windows will get suppressed to the background.
Using Third Party Applications
There are several apps specifically made to pin windows on top. It is very easy to program into Windows OS, and many individual and studio-developed applications perform this function.
Some of the great applications to pin a window on top are:
- DeskPins: Open source, has a visual cue of being pinned to the top, sits in the system tray, customizable shortcut keys, and other options.
- Turbotop: Simplistic and easy to use, sits in the system tray, purely controlled through the mouse, and lets you know if a window is pinned or not.
- WindowTop: Customizable and offers many features like making the pinned window transparent and clicking through the pinned window.
How to Pin Windows Media Player to the Top?
Windows Media Player is one of the few applications with the built-in feature of pinning it to the foreground. It also comes pre-installed with specific versions of windows.
Here’s how you can pin the Windows Media Player to the top.
- Launch Windows Media Player and press on Organize.
- Choose Options from the menu.
- In the new window, select Player tab.
- Select the Keep Now Playing on top of other Windows option.
- Tap Apply and OK.
The Windows Media Player should now be pinned to the top. Some other applications like VLC also support this feature.